I haven’t done one of these in a while so bear with me. The opening package was solid, gritty and in your face. One thing All Elite Wrestling have done in the build to this PPV is to make me care about most of the matches on the card. So let’s get going.
Dustin Rhodes Vs Jake Hager
Great way to start. Hager looks in great shape and Dustin’s ‘Jericho’s Bitch’ t-shirt was a great touch. Slugfest to start the match. Both men got out into the crowd early, For someone who hasn’t wrestled in a while, Hager looked comfortable and is selling well. Hager took control with a lariat outside of the ring early on and slows down the pace. Dustin tried a comeback but Hager cut off his heat. Great old school wrestling. There was a fun spot outside the ring with Hager’s significant other being kissed by Dustin, and back in the ring, Dustin began his comeback. Throat thrust and big powerslam by Dustin for two. Hager then retook control with a chop block and I thought they were working towards to the ankle lock. Hager then hit a powerslam and Vader Bomb for a two count. Hager then hit his signature gut-wrench powerbomb for a two count. Dustin retook control one last time, teasing shattered dreams but after a referee distraction, Dustin low-blowed Hager and hit a pretty crappy Code Red for a two count. Dustin then put Hager in an armbar, but he managed to counter it into an ankle lock but Dustin fought out. The finish came when the referee was distracted again, Hager hit Dustin with a low blow, put him in the arm triangle submission for the pass out the victory.
Winner by TKO: Jake Hager
Sammy Guevara vs Darby Allin
Man is Darby Allin over! Allin started quickly on the outside and hit Guevara with a shotgun dropkick into the barrier on the outside. They then traded throwing each other into the barriers before Allin hung Guevara over one of the barriers and attempted a tope Suicida through the middle rope but his heel hit the rope and he fell a little short. Looked nasty. Forgetting that the match hadn’t started yet, Guevara set up a table outside and hit a 630 off the top rope through Allin through the table. Guevara followed that up with a double knee strike in the ring for a two. Allin recovered enough to put Guevara into a Gory special into a double armbar. Why are the Jurassic Express sitting at ringside? One of them already looks like a member of the crowd, the other two are too over to play that off. Back in the ring, Allin hits a jumping sunset flip. Allin and Guevara go to the top rope again, with Guevara this time hitting a top rope Spanish Fly for a two count. Guevara exposed the top turnbuckle but was quickly thrown into it, Allin hit him with a flip stunner before hitting the Coffin Drop for the three-count.
Winner: Darby Allin
AEW Tag Team Championship: ‘Hangman’ Adam Page & Kenny Omega (c) vs The Young Bucks
Jeez, this was long. I’m not the biggest fan of Kenny Omega, so I’ll try and keep this short. Adam Page is the star of this quartet. The crowd were into him and booing the Bucks from the outset. Page was tagged in early to a loud pop and quickly spat in Matt Jackson’s face that got another loud pop. Matt then went crazy on Page before being restrained by Nick. The Bucks performed a few double-team moves including an elevated dropkick. Page then brought Matt back into the ring, and worked on his back, Back on the outside Page went for a powerbomb on Matt onto the ring bell table but Omega stopped him. Both Omega and Page work Matt’s back again before Matt hits them both with a double northern lights suplex. All four men in the ring again and it got me thinking, do tag team rules even exist in AEW? Omega did a lot of pandering in this match, not a fan of that to be honest. Matt caught a piledriver on Omega midway through the match, but Page quickly cleared house after the hot tag. After some back and forth double team moves (hey ref) the Bucks hit a powerbomb into sliced bread. Page then somehow got a chicken wing on Matt but Nick hit him with a 450 off the top rope. There was a lot going here and I couldn’t keep up. Towards the end of the match, the Bucks hit a Meltzer Driver onto Page on the ramp and began superkicking Omega in tandem. By this point, the match had gone on too long for me. Page recovered and the end of the match saw Page hit both Bucks with a buckshot lariat for the pinfall victory. Did I mention that was long?
Winners and still AEW Tag Team Champions: ‘Hangman’ Adam Page & Kenny Omega
After the match, Page teased turning on Kenny but didn’t.
AEW Women’s World Championship Match: Nyla Rose (c) vs Kris Statlander
She’s not from the Andromeda Galaxy okay? Jeez. Rose got a great entrance and looked like a champion. There was a test of strength to start, both women trying to knock the other down. Rose took control of the match early but the crowd had died a death after that marathon in the last match, Statlander missed a spear through the second rope but she really didn’t look comfortable out there. Rose hit a driving spear and short-arm clotheslines but there was absolutely no heat whatsoever. Statlander made her comeback and hit a missile dropkick and botched a kip-up. She hit Rose with a DDT for a two, but Rose recovered, hit the Beast Bomb and only got a two count to virtually no reaction. They went to the top rope and Statlander botched a superplex, but Rose managed to save and land safely. Rose and Statlander were back on the top rope (where they probably shouldn’t be), but Rose managed to get Statlander up for a top rope Beast Bomb for the three-count.
Winner and still AEW Women’s World Champion: Nyla Rose
Cody vs Maxwell Jacob Friedman (MJF)
To my main event of the evening. MJF is an absolute wonder in his role. An asshole to the very end. Cody came out flanked by everyone, looking and feeling like the biggest star in the company (even if the band that do his theme were shit live). MJF started as he should have, chickenshit heeling and going to the crowd. He even chucked a woman’s beer at a guy which was great. Cody managed to get Friedman in the ring and hit a Rhodes uppercut followed with a Cody Cutter. Cody took MJF to the ramp and hit a great looking power clothesline back into the ring. MJF then took control after some interference by Wardlow, and worked on Cody’s left arm, even using the Salt Of The Earth armbar but Cody got to the ropes using his mouth. Great spot. Friedman then took off Cody’s left boot and bit Cody’s broken toe. Simple but effective stuff here. Cody hit a reverse DDT and knocked MJF to the outside with a kick that apparently cut MJF open because when the camera was next on him, his face was covered in blood. Cody then went to the corner for the ten count punches to the head. He mocked Randy Orton’s pose and went for Orton’s signature hanging DDT but Friedman reversed into a heat seeker. Brandy then tried a crossbody on Wardlow but he caught her, and whilst Arn Anderson helped her down, Cody accidentally caught him with a kick to the chest. Towards the end of the match, Cody whipped Friedman with his belt a couple of times, and MJF then tried to reason with Cody and apologise, before spitting in his face of course. Cody then fired up and hit two Cross Rhodes, went for the third but didn’t realise Wardlow had handed Friedman his diamond ring. MJF hit him with the ring on, collapsed on top of Cody and got the three-count.
Winner: Maxwell Jacob Friedman
PAC vs Orange Cassidy
This match had no reason to be as good as it was. They even managed to make Cassidy’s entrance pyro lazy which was a great touch. PAC and Cassidy started with the lazy leg kicks, and PAC even joined in before pushing him over. The crowd was way into this match. Cassidy fired up with a dropkick, followed by a victory roll for two. The match spilled outside and PAC then took complete control, even throwing Cassidy into the ring post literally headfirst. PAC then hit a missile dropkick, followed by a sit-down Liger Bomb for a two count. Cassidy was playing possum, and towards the end of the match hit a quick tope Suicida, followed up by a tilt-a-whirl DDT for a two. Superman punch and Slumdog Millionaire by Cassidy, but PAC cut him off with a DDT. The Lucha Brothers then for no reason attached the Best Friends at ringside, which gave PAC the ability to put Cassidy into the Brutalizer for the tap-out win.
AEW World Heavyweight Championship: Chris Jericho (c) vs Jon Moxley
To the main event. Orchestra sang ‘Judas’ for Jericho’s entrance. Big fight feel. The match very quickly spilled out to the crowd, where both men brawled into the stands. Back at ringside, Moxley bit Jericho’s stitches for a big pop. Somehow at this point, Moxley was bleeding above his covered right eye, I didn’t see what caused it. Jericho hit a nasty powerbomb on Moxley through the ring bell table. Jericho then slowed down the pace and Ortiz and Santana even got a few cheap shots in behind the referee’s back. Moxley then recovered to hit a top rope lariat and hit a Tope Suicida to the back of Jericho’s head on the outside. He followed up with a running knee but was cut off by Ortiz who hit him with a loaded sock. Towards the end of the match, Moxley put Jericho in the Boston Crab, but Jake Hager ran out for the distraction, that allowed Jericho to hit a codebreaker for a two count. Referee Aubrey then ejected the Inner Circle from ringside, but not before Sammy Guevara hit Moxley with the title. Jericho got a two count. Jericho tries to work Moxley’s bad eye, but Moxley then pulled off the eye patch, revealing a fully healed eye (what a shock). Two Paradigm Shifts later and Jon Moxley is your new world champion.
Winner and NEW AEW World Heavyweight Champion: Jon Moxley
All in all, a very solid show. It was tapas for wrestling fans who got a bit of everything. Slightly overused blood but I’m okay with it. This PPV was everything WWE’s are not at the moment. Good culminations to well-built stories. Imagine that!
All photos courtesy of AEW